Mormon homophobia is so pass

COB Health Homosexuality

Even major corporations in Utah have seen the benefits of equality, like Intermountain Healthcare, which extended “domestic partner” benefits to same-sex couples last week. Props to IHC!

Of course, what I mean by pass is that it is really only pass in corporate America to be homophobic. That same is not true in pseudo-corporate, religious America, where most people think religions suck when it comes to dealing with issues related to homosexuality. According to a recent PublicReligion.org study, 2/3 of Americans think messages coming from religions contribute to suicide among gay and lesbian youth and 4 in 10 Americans give religions a D or F on how they deal with LGBTQ issues.

So, here’s my question for this post: When will the corporate Church offer domestic partner benefits for its employees at the Church Office Building and worldwide?

I kid, of course… Sadly. That day is going to be a long time in coming. Though I wonder if any employees are secretly gay and pilfering benefits. Maybe Daymon Smith knows…

12 thoughts on “Mormon homophobia is so pass

  1. Did you notice the part that showed that while people think religions suck when it comes to dealing with homosexuality, many people believe that *their own religion* does a good job (ironically, the members of religions that do the worst job [white Evangelicals, cough cough] have the most inflated sense of their religion’s track record)…so what I’d be interested in seeing is this: how do Mormons internally view the church’s track record with homosexuality? Are they self-congratulatory like white Evangelicals or self-effacing like Catholics?

  2. Are [Mormons] self-congratulatory like white Evangelicals or self-effacing like Catholics?

    Cough, cough. Have you any doubts? The LDS Church is the institution that can do no wrong. Ever. On any subject.

  3. Yeah, that’s one thing that bothers me about LDS leaders. When it comes to reparative therapy, Oaks stated in 2006:

    The aversive therapies that have been used in connection with same-sex attraction have contained some serious abuses that have been recognized over time within the professions. While we have no position about what the medical doctors do (except in very, very rare cases abortion would be such an example), we are conscious that there are abuses and we dont accept responsibility for those abuses.

    To me, a spiritual leader should take responsibility for a shared hurtful past rather than try to disassociate from it.

  4. how do Mormons internally view the churchs track record with homosexuality?

    My sense is that they live in an eternal present where “love the sinner, hate the sin” is the way to go, and they get annoyed when people don’t get how this is wrong or how this developed. In other words, most don’t know there is a track record, and those that know of one vaguely think today is “better” than before.

  5. Though I wonder if any employees are secretly gay and pilfering benefits.
    It wouldn’t surprise me if there were.

    The church doesn’t want to fully recognize what they did in regards to the “therapy” or the effects (including non-effects) the so-called therapy had. This came up in another blog today and has been a thought of mine as well for quite some time: interesting to consider their staunch anti-porn stance but it’s totes okay to show gay men gay porn in an effort to “make them straight.”

    Andrew: Oh completely. The church is both, I think, self-congratulatory and self-effacing. Have you read their reply to the Human Rights Campaign? All that bullshit about how they work to lessen discrimination or whatever? It’s a bunch of crap as I understand it at least. Last I checked someone could be fired from their job in Utah for being gay–and I know the church isn’t officially in charge there, but we all know it’s a de-facto government.

  6. Alan, what was the context of Oaks’ statement that you quoted? It seems like such a non-sequitur. If I say “I am conscious that there has been embezzlement and I don’t take responsibility for that embezzlement”, it is technically an assertion of innocence but it seems more likely to give the impression that I’m in it up to my neck. What was he thinking, or trying to accomplish? Just reading the words in isolation, they seem to fall somewhere in the spectrum from “mistakes were made” to “I am not a crook”. Weird.

  7. Thx, Andrew.

    Badger, Oaks said that after he was asked this question:

    PUBLIC AFFAIRS: Is therapy of any kind a legitimate course of action if were talking about controlling behavior? If a young man says, Look, I really want these feelings to go away I would do anything for these feelings to go away, is it legitimate to look at clinical therapy of some sort that would address those issues?

    The fact that he brought up reparative therapy means that he has some knowledge of it occurring under his watch, so I agree it read like “I am not a crook.”

    The other thing about reparative therapy is that it’s not really over. Yes, the electroshock therapy is done, but the more humane therapies are still quite active. This is because of ideas like the one above, where if a young person doesn’t want to be gay, then there’s an assumption the free will is more important than the gayness, rather than social homophobia trumping the free will.

  8. Thanks, Alan. Knowing the question, I still think it’s weird.

    Just a few years after Official Declaration 2, I had a short encounter with a middle aged black man while in the company of an LDS missionary. The gentleman told us–very politely, I thought, under the circumstances–that he understood that the church discriminated on the basis of race. I said, that was true until recently, but I’m very glad to be able to tell you it is no longer the case. In reply the man said something I thought was quite nice, about how happy he was to hear it, and how good it was when mistakes were recognized and abandoned.

    Afterwards, the elder was indignant. It wasn’t discrimination, it was a commandment of God, and certainly not a mistake. I should have defended the church, etc. I didn’t agree (what did he think the word “discrimination” meant?) but assume for the sake of discussion that he was 100% right. What possible sense would it make to say “That’s wrong, it was God’s will, not a mistake. Tell all your friends! Now, would you like to hear about the First Vision?” Of course a black man would see it as a mistake–or worse–and from his, or any non-Mormon’s point of view, we didn’t have a leg to stand on in denying it. Having a couple of teenage (well, maybe 20-yo) white boys go around doing so to older black men is obviously a losing PR tactic.

    The experience stuck with me partly because I had had exactly the same automatic “not a mistake” response. I just had (barely) enough detachment to give it a second thought.

    It seems to me that the same sort of impulse is at work in most of what the church has had to say about gay people in recent years. There is a tone-deaf lack of insight into the circumstances of gay people, gay Mormons in particular. The recent softening of discourse is successful in the apologetic goal of helping liberal members feel easier about their position. The vitriolic language of few decades past has gone down the memory hole, but the legacy lives on: instead of insisting that gay people don’t really exist–except when addressing Evergreen or in the case of Boyd why-would-God-do-that Packer–there is a new, more humane, demand for “those who” cannot change their orientation: just do whatever it takes to fit in to the world we imagined existed back when we said you didn’t exist. It’s like alcoholism: just try AA (well, Evergreen), or if that doesn’t work, willpower. Disappear! Problem solved!

    I think it’s pretty clear whose problem isn’t solved in this way, but making it tenable for gay Mormons to stay in the church is not really the purpose.

  9. Having a couple of teenage (well, maybe 20-yo) white boys go around doing so to older black men is obviously a losing PR tactic.

    If someone is in a committed same-sex relationship, do missionaries just wish them a good day? Or is all this talk of tolerance mean a change in policy? My personal experience is that missionaries will talk to anyone and let you speak your mind on a subject extensively, as long as you’re welcoming of them (and not crazy).

    Missionaries are the next generation of Mormon leadership. That is how people must think of them. Unfortunately, people tend to see them as representatives of this generation of Mormon leadership (which is how they’re trained), and so after Prop 8, gay people slam doors on their faces. But if when I’m older I want to see a Church that is accepting of gay people, I should help educate these young people at every opportunity. I think that enough door slamming will send a message, too, but it’s a lot faster and more pleasant to talk to people, IMO; one can be clearer about the specifics of the message and in what ways the Church is wrong, etc.

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